Published  16/10/2006

Oz Triumphant

Our contributor in New York, Michael Patrick Hearn, has pulled off a masterly exhibition entitled 'The Wonderful Art of Oz', which runs until 22 October. There is a full-colour 32-page catalogue of his amazing exhibition, which is at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. Hearn is the author of The Annotated Wizard of Oz and has been a long standing member of the International Oz Club. This exhibition concentrates on the images based upon the illustrated books of L Frank Baum (1856-1919), of which there are over 40. The New York Public Library has the major collection of key drawings made by WW Denslow, published in 1900. The second book in the Oz series, entitled The Marvelous Land of Oz was published in 1904, illustrated by John R Neill (1877-1943). The exhibition shows the work of four contemporary artists (see the Studio International review article this month by Gretchen Adkins). Hearn had a plethora of material, as Adkins reveals, and managed to exhibit it in special groupings, offering dramatic contrasts in terms of characterisation and plot. Outstanding is an Andy Warhol print of the actress Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch. It is amazing how the name and concept of Oz has survived for a century. Hearn has done full justice in Amherst to this wealth of inspiration and it is to be hoped that the exhibition will continue elsewhere. Certainly there is an avid following waiting here in Europe.

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